Academic Tourism

This week I've had a number of interesting conversations with Achill Tourism Director Chris McCarthy. He has been our primary contact on the island and chief curator, introducing us to people who know the island and it's stories well, people engaged with folklore collection and preservation, and local heritage. One of the most refreshing aspects …

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Folk Dance, Gaeilge, and walking Achill Island

December 30 we spent the day at the Valley House, as our folk education came to us. We started the day with Emma Fallon, a native Irish (Gaeilge) speaker who came to give us a bit of history of Gaeilge and the status of language in Ireland. We capped the discussion with a basic lesson …

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Good Leaders and Followers

This is a follow-up to my last post about the Future of Folkloristics conference. The conference participants talked about the skills of leadership and "followership." Many people don't think that they are, or can become leaders. They feel more comfortable as a follower. I don't have a problem with that, except the rules for good leaders …

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The Future of American Folkloristics #FOAF

About a year ago, a group of forward-thinking graduate students at Indiana University hatched a plan for a conference. They wanted to bring folklorists at all stages of their careers* together to discuss the future of the discipline. Shortly after, the planning for FOAF began. This week, one hundred plus folklorists converged on Bloomington. From …

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The Field School 2016

Today I begin the first field visit to prepare for the 2016 Field School for Cultural Documentation. I'll be working with Community Gardens in Arlington County. I grew up on a farm, so the idea of a kitchen garden makes sense to me. I tore out landscaping around my house to exploit the only sunny …

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Two Arlingtons? An Ethnographic Reflection

Two years ago I wrapped up a two-year ethnographic project along Northern Virginia's Columbia Pike in Arlington, VA. The project provided a great site for the Field School for Cultural Documentation, but tensions in the community were running high. Long-term residents reported being ignored by their county board members. Small business owners said they were …

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